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So, you think you know how to wash your hair. It’s simple enough, right? Shampoo, then conditioner, maybe add in a hair mask every now and again… Well, it turns out some of us may have been doing it wrong this whole time! That certainly explains why my hair feels amazing when I go to the hair salon, but when I do it at home, I’m lucky if it dries the same way twice!

Shampoo vs conditioner

Shampoo is made to clean the scalp. It contains surfactant and co-surfactants, which basically acts as soap, trapping grease, dirt and oil from hair. By starting at the roots and using the lather, any residue on the hair ends should be removed as the shampoo is washed out.

On the other hand, conditioner is used to improve the feel and appearance of hair. It’s thinner than shampoo and helps with smoothening, moisture and frizz. Unlike shampoo, stay away from conditioning the scalp and focus on the mid-length to hair ends.

According to Schwarzkopf, how many times a week you wash your hair should be determined by your hair type and the products you use. However, there is a specific technique that should be followed every time. Here’s the step-by-step according to the experts:

Preparation is key.

Make sure you are using the best shampoo for your hair type. To read more about hair types and the best products for your hair, go online or see a hair expert, and make sure you know what ingredients are in the products you use. Make sure to also comb out any residual products that may be in your hair before washing.

Temperature matters.

For those of us who love to shower with boiling hot water, bad news. Exposing your hair to super high temperatures leaves them dry and leads to faster colour fade for dyed hair. Use lukewarm water instead and thoroughly wet through before adding shampoo.

Application.

Add some shampoo (the volume of a hazelnut, for short to medium hair) to your palm and apply directly to the roots. Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp for two to three minutes, paying special attention to the area at the nape of the neck. Once the roots are covered, lather the shampoo down to the hair ends.

Rinse.

Rinse the shampoo out, again with lukewarm water, until the water runs clear and your hair feels clean.

Condition.

You only need a small amount of conditioner. Apply it to the middle of your hair and work it down to the ends. Rinse out the product as you do with shampoo. Some experts warn against conditioning at the root and recommend leaving conditioner to sit in your hair for five to seven minutes, but too long and it could leave residue. Patience is a virtue when it comes to conditioning!

Final rinse.

Using lukewarm water opens up the hair cuticle. During a final rinse, use cool water. It feels refreshing, stimulates blood circulation and seals the hair cuticle to lock in moisture, leaving your hair feeling smooth and extra shiny!

You may be out of the shower now, but your job isn’t done yet. Towel dry your hair and if you plan on using a hot tool, make sure you apply heat protectant. Remember you should never use hot tools on wet or even damp hair. Hair needs to be fully dry before extreme heat is applied, but you already knew that.

Happy washing!